Springs are often rainy in Romania, and this warm soup makes quite a delightful companion when the skies are gray. Although not as common as nettle purée, the soup is still a Lent favorite in many households. Again, recipe variations aren’t uncommon across Romania. Non-vegans or people who aren’t fasting serve it with a dollop of heavy sour cream.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 pounds freshly harvested spring nettles
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 3 tablespoons white rice, washed thoroughly
- 3/4 cup tomato juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Lemon juice to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Wash the fresh nettle leaves thoroughly in cold water in a deep pot. Use rubber gloves to protect your skin from the stings. Don’t drain the water; instead, remove the nettles with a skimmer to allow any impurities to fall to the vessel’s bottom before changing the water. Repeat this operation several times until the water is clear.
Blanch the nettles in a pot of salted, boiling water (about 4 1/4 cups) for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and strain through a sieve, reserving the liquid. When the nettles have cooled enough to handle, chop them finely on a wooden surface.
Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion and carrot for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring to avoid darkening.
Add the rice, nettles, and reserved broth from boiling the nettles, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato juice. Cover and simmer on low for 5 to 7 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked.
Add the garlic and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Simmer for a couple minutes more. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and lemon juice as needed.
Remove from heat and serve hot, sprinkled with fresh parsley leaves.
Be the first to comment